Britain warned over impact of joining EU’s biometric database
10 November 2015 15:55 GMT

Britain’s Home Office has warned in a study that authorities could face constant and frequent demands for DNA and biometric information matching if the UK signs up to an EU crime database.

Certain EU countries use lower quality DNA matching criteria than the UK, meaning people in Britain could be accused of being criminals because of “false positive” DNA matches, warned the office, reports The Daily Telegraph.

The system, designed as part of the 2007 Prum convention, is linked to databases that store five million fingerprints, DNA samples and car registration records held across Europe.

The Prüm Convention aims to improve cross-border police cooperation between the member states of the European Union (EU).

In order to combat international crime and terrorism effectively, the authorities responsible exchange police information quickly and efficiently, especially where DNA profiles, fingerprints and data on vehicles and their owners are concerned.

This enables checks to be carried out within the shortest possible time to establish whether data on any person or thing is already stored in the database of any other Prüm state. All EU member states participate in this cooperation, while Norway and Iceland have established a participation agreement with the EU. Switzerland is also seeking to conclude such an agreement.

"The potential inbound volumes as a result of Prüm are not known at this time but it is fair to assume that the relative ease of access via Prüm could increase the overall volume of inbound requests compared to the number of inbound Interpol requests that are currently made."

MPs are due to vote by the end of December on whether to join the Prüm system.

According to the newspaper, the Home Office document quoted from an as-yet unpublished report, by the UK Prüm DNA Evaluation (UKPDE) project, which said automatically handing over data under the new system could be a risk to national security and police investigations.

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